At least 339 people died after an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Richter Scale struck the border between Iraq and Iran on Sunday night. More than 2,500 were injured, according to Iran’s Press TV.
Most of the casualties were in Iran’s Kermanshah province. Mojtaba Nikkerdar, the deputy governor of Kermanshah province in Iran, said there were still people trapped under the rubble. “We hope the number of dead and injured won’t rise too much, but it will,” he added.
Power cuts were reported in the Kermanshah province, according to the National Disaster Management Organization of Iran. The authorities have declared three days of mourning in Kermanshah.
The powerful quake struck 30 km southwest of Halabja in the Kurdish region in North Iraq around 9.20 pm on Sunday, according to the United States Geological Survey. Tremors were felt even in Qatar and Turkey.
The Iraqi government has not yet provided any figures on the casualties. However, media reports said at least six people died. Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed said nearly 30 people were wounded in Darbandikhan town. “The situation there is very critical,” he said.
Officials told AFP that landslides triggered by the quake were hindering their rescue efforts. Power cuts, too, are affecting their work in several towns.
Iran is one of the world’s most seismically active countries as it it located over several major fault lines. In 2003, more than 26,000 people were killed after an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck Southeast Iran, destroying the historic city of Bam.